Each month I interview someone who has experienced infertility firsthand. Today I’m interviewing blogger and coach, Lesley Pyne. She shares how she has a fulfilling, childless life after failed infertility treatments Enjoy!
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello, I’m Lesley Pyne. I’m childless and it’s taken me over ten years and some hard work to be able to say that openly. I love my life & who I am.
I’m in my early 50s and I’ve been married for 20 years. We had ‘too many’ rounds of IVF, none of which succeeded. I really struggled to come to terms with not having children (see below) and now I support childless women to heal and to create a life they love.
For the first time in my life I’ve found my authentic self and I truly own my story and it’s just wonderful. It has taken time and work though. I started coaching midlife women and what I really wanted to do was support childless women but I wasn’t strong enough inside to do it.
A big catalyst was reading the final para in Dr Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. It stirred something inside me, I felt as though she’d written it just for me as I HAD spent ten years standing on the outside of my life and it WAS uncomfortable, dangerous and hurtful and it made me decide that I’d had enough. Her words felt like a call to action both for me personally and to go out and make the difference I believe I can and want to make in the world.
I live in London with my husband (and work with women all over the world), I enjoy travel and singing in a choir.
Q. How long did you try to conceive and what issues were you facing?
After about a year of trying the clinic we were referred to recommended IVF. We then spent 4 yrs on the IVF rollercoaster and stopped when I turned 40.
Our infertility was unexplained, probably as a result of my age. I was 35 when we started trying and didn”t realise how much my fertility had already dropped. Like many women I knew that it would drop but I didn’t realise that this starts when we’re 27 and by 35 it’s heading down fast!
I thought I’d be okay until I was 40 and if not then we’d have IVF and out would pop a baby! The other information we were missing is that IVF succes rates are only 25% (broadly the same as when it first started).
We’d been together and then married for a few years before we started trying, and if we’d known all of this our lives may have been different.
I know many women who wait to start a family, and it makes me very sad that so many struggle because they’re unaware of these facts.
Q. Looking back on your infertility journey, what’s one thing you handled well and one thing you wish you would’ve handled differently.
We talked to each other honestly and openly about what we were going through and our relationship is stronger now. I can’t recall any specific conversations; just that we felt very close.
We (or maybe I) would have benefitted from talking to someone independent. Like many women I didn’t know anyone going through IVF so I felt alone so I felt like I was the only person going through this. We were never offered support or counseling/therapy and in hindsight this would have helped. When you’re right in the middle of this you’re focused on just one goal, anything less is unacceptable.
I wish we’d joined a support group (or connected with others going through IVF). Also speaking to couples who were living a positive lfe without children would have hepled us to realise that we too could have this. This is the reason I’ve started the inspirational stories on my blog.
Q. How did you handle it when you first realized childlessness was the road you’d be walking?
Not very well. We were struggling with grief and sadness, and feeling incredibly alone, especially as all our friends had children and the emotion felt too raw to talk about. So we effectively hibernated for a year then we joined the UK charity More to Life. There we found friends in a similar place and in the intervning years we’ve healed and grown together.
Even after ten years I was still hit by grief and sadness from time to time and I also felt lost, not knowing who I was and my place in the world. I decided to study NLP and the techniques I learned finally healed this grief and also helped me to find me again. Now I use what I’ve learnd and my first hand experience to help women to heal and to reclaim themselves and their life in less time than it took me.
Q. What one piece of advice would you give to a woman who is trying to come to terms with childlessness?
It’s hard to just pick one so I’ve gone for two which are closely linked:
You are not alone. Whatever you’re feeling and whatever your story, I can guarantee you that there are others who feel the same.
So do whatever you need to do to realise this and to find the support that’s right for you.
You have a choice about your life, you can stay sad and eventually you might be okay, but you CAN have a positive and happy life so and to do this you’ll need to take action.
Q. What are some resources (books, websites, etc.) you recommend to women who are exploring the possibility of a childless life?
What we need is very individual, and new resources are constantly appearing so I suggest taking a look at somewhere that has a list of blogs and support sites. I have that and The Road less Travelled has a great list of resources.
Q. How can the infertility community and the child-free community come together to better serve women at various stages of their journey?
Since I’ve joined this community I’ve been amazed at how much is shared and and how so many connect and support each other. Although it might seem that we’re similar, our stories and perspectives vary and I believe it’s helpful to see the range so women can find what resonates with them. So to some extent I’d say carry on sharing content and stories, guest blogging, etc.
Also I appreciate that women struggling with infertility see being childless as a failure. Believe me I really understand that; I’ve been there. And it will be the life for many. So I would like to see the infertility community being more open about that and showing more ways it’s possible to life a positive childless life.
Q. Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
It is possible to have a positive life without children.
Wherever you are on your journey I truly hope you get what you desire, and if not then please truly believe that you can have a positive and fulfilling life.
Many thanks to Lesley for sharing her story. Please leave her a comment below to let her know you appreciate her, and please consider pinning or sharing this image so others can read her story.
I’d love to feature YOUR story in an upcoming interview. Please let me know if you’re interested. You do not have to submit a picture or have your own blog to participate. You can see all my previous interviews here.
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